The Saint Lawrence stage was alive with The Sound of Music as the school’s department of Visual and Performing Arts put on its 20th annual production March 27-29.
Because of Saint Lawrence’s size, each production is all-inclusive, allowing any student interested in performing to participate without the fear of being cut. Over 30 students chose to be part of the cast in addition to the dozen-plus students who were part of the technical crew. What seemed like the potential for disaster, with students who had no business being on stage, turned into a cast full of exceptionally talented teenagers who were professional, poised and put together.
“The students you see on stage have chosen to step away from their screens and participate actively in creating art,” read the program notes from director and Performing Arts Director Mary Carroll, who has been the director of each of the school’s 20 productions and made the program what it is today. “I am amazed at how they consistently rise to meet challenges, solve problems, support each other and tap into a level of courage adults can only imagine … I am proud of their accomplishments.”
The challenge the students had was performing a well-known musical, with some of the most recognizable show tunes (“The Sound of Music,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “So Long, Farewell,” and “My Favorite Things”). What the school produced was a high-quality performance with a full orchestra in the Saint Lawrence the Martyr Community Center. Every student participating took on their challenge and was successful in their part.
Playing the role of Maria was senior Chelsea Suratos. In her third and final performance, Suratos shined as the postulant-turned-governess-turned-mother, singing wonderfully and bringing Maria to life. “Chelsea is the most hardworking and prepared actor I have ever had in my 20 years here,” said Carroll. “She was focused and dedicated and, in the course of the rehearsal period, only forgot two lines. Ever. Pretty amazing.” Also of note were seniors Cosette Fitzgerald as Mother Abbess and Mericia Bonifacino as Lisel, the almost 17-year-old Von Trapp daughter. Fitzgerald’s near-operatic voice hit high notes with many in the audience, while Bonifacino’s pleasant voice was showcased in the popular “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” song sung with senior Seena Soltanzad (Rolf).
The role of Captain Von Trapp went to senior Brian Guevarra, performing in his first play ever. While first-time performers often flub their lines and appear awkward, Guevarra looked like a pro on stage, surrounded by students who had been in the past three or four Saint Lawrence spring productions.
A surprising addition to the cast was middle school student Lauren Romard. As the youngest cast member (class of 2021), Romard, who played Gretel, the littlest of the Von Trapp children, was adorable with her strawberry tresses styled in twin braids.
“…The kids are awesome,” said Caroll. “They are creative and unique and gracious and humble and kind. Nothing in the world is better than witnessing their growth, their courage and their success … Many of the students feel like the cast and crew are an extended family and many alums feel similarly as well.”
Visit www.saintlawrenceacademy.com/extracurriculars/performing-arts/index.aspx to learn more about the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Saint Lawrence Academy.